What Is a Cozy Mystery?

Despite all the cozy series available through both online and retail book sellers, there are still a lot of people who have no idea what a cozy mystery is. Books authored by Agatha Christie are probably the best and most recognized examples of cozy mysteries.

Also called “cozies”, a cozy mystery is a sub-genre of the larger one known as crime fiction or mystery. In a cozy mystery:

  • Sex is all but nonexistent. What happens in the bedroom stays there.
  • There’s a lack of blood and gore. If it does feature, then it’s downplayed.
  • The overall tone is light, if not lighthearted. There might be puns!
  • Crime typically takes place in a community or small town.
  • The sleuth is an amateur with ties to some brand of the law.

If cozy mysteries were television shows, then you’d most likely find them on the Hallmark channel or some equally family-friendly television programming station. Some good examples are Murder She Wrote, Pie in the Sky, the Father Dowling Mysteries, or Matlock, although the latter was a criminal defense lawyer and not an amateur sleuth.

As Lieutenant Columbo would say: Oh, just one more thing….

My cozy mystery for NaNoWriMo is coming along nicely. I’m slightly ahead of the curve as far as daily word counts, and look forward to completing the book so I can move on to the next phase of seeing it in print.


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